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Daily Buzz: Understanding JaMarcus Russell; The U.S. vs Lance Armstrong and challenging Bryce Harper

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JaMarcus Russell as an NFL quarterback was decried for lack of effort, specifically his playing weight. His talent was decried due to the interceptions, but in reality three seasons on a bad Oakland Raiders team is probably not the best measurement of a man or a quarterback.

An arrest for a kool-aid/codeine mixture also forever tainted his public reputation.

But if Russell is mostly criticized as the NFL’s biggest draft bust, he may be one of the most mislabeled, as Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wortheim Sports Illustrated writes:

Russell fills part of his days as a youth football coach in Mobile, pacing around with more energy and animation and conviction than he often showed as an NFL quarterback. He doesn’t spend much time on-line but he’s aware of his reputation. He knows that with each NFL draft, his name is trotted out as a cautionary tale. And this triggers a deep laugh. He doesn’t want the world’s ridicule; but he doesn’t want the world’s sympathy either. No injuries. No head trauma. No financial stresses. None of the unhappiness and complications that came from fame he never wanted. “What,” he asks himself, “do I have to be unhappy about?”

Well the bust label actually did catch up with Russell and he played his last down of NFL football over six years ago in January of 2010 as a member of the Oakland Raiders.

The 30-year-old Russell made waves this week as it was found out that he sent a letter to each of the NFL’s 32 teams (too many right?) last year asking for just a shot.

He even went as far as saying he would play for free.

“God makes things happen for a reason,” Russell told  Sports Illustrated. “Who’s to say? You might see me back. You never know, man. You never know. … Whatever it is — I can be a water boy and work my way into a scout team. It doesn’t matter. I’ll go play for free.”

Russell may not get another shot just because that’s how the NFL’s ultra ironic somewhat hypocritical player machine works. A label will get you a long way, for better or worse.

-The U.S. Government is seeking to recover the nearly $33 million the United States Postal Service paid Lance Armstrong as his sponsor from 2000 to 2004.

-The expanded netting around first and third base in MLB stadiums appear to be working, at least in the case of a broken bat last night in Washington D.C.  Via USA TODAY

-Nationals Manager Dusty Baker thinks most smart opposing pitchers will try and pitch around Bryce Harper who is off to a nice start with nine home runs 24 RBI and a .318 batting average. But Baker points out, as he saw with Hank Aaron, there will always be some youngsters who want to try and challenge harper to their detriment.

“A lot of pitchers don’t like running from you. Some of these guys have never run from anybody … and they still like the challenge of facing the best,” Baker said via the USA Today.

“I saw it with Hank Aaron. They had him set up with an inside fastball because they just wanted to break his bat so they could go and call their father and tell them they broke Hank Aaron’s bat,” Baker said.

“You ever watch cowboy movies or Jesse James and all them dudes? All those young dudes that tried to kill? I’m serious. It’s the same, it hasn’t changed,” Baker said.

“There’s always a gun-fighter that figures he can enhance his reputation by getting Bryce out or whoever the best is. There are gonna be some young fools out there that try.”

 

 

 

Daily Buzz: Kobe’s Last Game, Jim Harbaugh’s suggestion for the NCAA, and a new attitude at Wrigley

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Tonight’s Lakers-Jazz matchup will be the last in a long line of horrible games for the gold and yellow in the 2016 season but perhaps the most important non-important game in Laker history. Kobe Bryant’s last game after 20 seasons will be played on a court with newly adorned 8 and 24 numbers on the hardwood, brought in special for tonight’s game.

Meanwhile, Nike basketball has promoted #MambaDay on Twitter and Nike.com/mambaday  in celebration of Kobe’s last game.

In a new “This is SportsCenter” promo, Kenny Mayne gets the office to sign Kobe’s going away card. ESPN.

(Check out Digital Sports Daily on Facebook)
ESPN2 will have Kobe’s game opposite of ESPN’s coverage of Warriors quest for 73 wins tonight against the Grizzlies at Oracle Arena in Oakland where the Warriors are 38-2 this season.

Here’s what Steph Curry said after practice Tuesday, via the Associated Press:

“I knew what it was but you never really thought about it in perspective of anybody chasing it. It was kind of that number that was out there that seemed invincible,” Curry said.

“Even at the beginning of this year, even when we started 24-0, it was kind of: ‘Well, maybe we can do it. We’re going to keep playing every night with the intention of winning as many games as possible,’ but it just sounded kind of ludicrous, 72-10, how much good play has to go into it. We’re there now, 72-9, and we’ve got one more chance to beat it.”

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh had some choice words for the NCAA after the collegiate governing body eliminated satellite camps such as the one Harbaugh held at IMG academy in Bradenton, FL.

Via Campus Rush.com/SI.com

 “The incompetence of the NCAA has reared its ugly head yet again,” Harbaugh told Sports Illustrated.

“It seems to be outrage by the SEC and ACC,” Harbaugh continued.

“They power-brokered that out. … The image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars, doing what they perceive is best for them. It certainly isn’t the best thing for the youngsters. It’s not the best thing for the student-athletes.”

Jim further suggested, “I suggest we drop the term student-athlete.”

“It takes chutzpah for a team that hasn’t won the World Series in 107 years to add a “celebration room” to its new clubhouse digs,” writes Paul Sulivan of the Chicago Tribune regarding the new improvements at Wrigley field, and a new attitude on the north side.

In Golf circles, Bryson DeChambeau has been on the scene for a few months now as a really good amateur. Golf Digest declared in September, ” Bryson DeChambeau Is One Crazy Good Amateur

DeChabeau got the attention of everyone at the Masters both with his stylish dress and his single plane swing. He studied the 1969 book “The golfing machine” and uses a single plane swing that would make the likes of traditional golf swing scientists somewhat cringe.  USA TODAY has more.

Colorado Rockies rookie shortstop Trevor Story has turned heads with his major league-leading seven home runs in 31 at-bats. Story was cooled off a bit Tuesday in San Francisco going 0-4. Meanwhile another youngster is not far behind, Reds starting third baseman Eugenio Suarez has four home runs and is hitting .375 to start the season.

If the NBA Playoffs began today, here’s your matchups:

East: 1 vs 8 Miami vs Detroit 2 vs 7 Toronto vs Indiana 3 vs 6 Miami vs Charlotte 4 vs 5 Atlanta vs Boston

West: 1 vs 8 Golden State vs Houston 2 vs 7 San Antonio vs Memphis 3 vs 6 Oklahoma City vs Dallas 4 vs 5 Los Angeles Clippers vs Portland

Daily Reads-Curated Sports News of the Day

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-LeBron is remaking the Culture in Cleveland  via Cleveland.com

Early on, the Cleveland Cavaliers are feeling the pressure of LeBron James’ obsession with bringing a title to the city of Cleveland.

His teammates might have thought they understood the magnitude of the city’s championship drought and what James’ return truly means, but they had no idea how much James would be in their ear in Year 2

Matt jones edged out Jordan Spieth to win the Australian Open, via ESPN.com

Matt Jones talked about the “stress and anxious moments” during his final round at the Australian Open on Sunday.

He wasn’t exaggerating.

Jones overcame a bogey, double-bogey and triple-bogey on the front nine Sunday to escape with a one-stroke victory at the Australian Open after shooting a 2-over 73. Jones, who led defending champion Jordan Spiethby three strokes to begin the day, finished with a 72-hole total of 8-under 276.

New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings is launching a charity, Reuters has his story from overweight highschooler to NFL running back.

Source: NFL’s Jennings launches mentoring charity to help kids – Yahoo News

Overweight, burdened with asthma and marooned on the bench as a fifth-string running back, Rashad Jennings of the New York Giants chuckles as he recalls his routine during his high school football games in rural Forest, Virginia.

“Drinking Sprite and eating M&M’s on the sideline,” Jennings said. “Why not? Didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to get into the game.”

All of that impish indifference changed for the future NFL standout during one game when every player ahead of him on the Jefferson Forest High School team’s depth chart got injured.

“The coach yells, ‘Rashad Jennings, get in the game!’ and I can’t even find my helmet,” Jennings said. “I had to pick up some random helmet. I didn’t use their mouthpiece though. That would have been nasty.”

 

Goodbye Don Orsillo

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—You are seeing it more and more.

Major Networks, of which I consider NESN, are replacing their larger than life, personality-filled broadcasters, with company men. No offense to Dave O’Brien.

O’Brien: Knowledgeable baseball man, smooth, but he’s not going to say anything that will really excite you or surprise you.

Don Orsillo will surprise you. He entertained legions of Red Sox fans, and baseball fans for that matter, for the last 15 years as the voice of the Red Sox on television.

The Red Sox and NESN will not renew his contract after this season.

Essentially firing Orsillo.

 

Beginning next season, Orsillo is replaced by ESPN’s Dave O’Brien who has been doing radio for the club for the last nine years.

There are petitions online, Twitter is aghast,  RemDawg shared his thoughts, but none of that will matter, once the decision is made, the decision is made.

Perhaps not in this case, as O’Brien is not a bad replacement, but in general it seems that networks now prefer the humorless robots to call the games. Gone are the Harry Carays, the Jack Bucks, the Harry Kalas’ of the world.

Say hello to the faceless ones and baseball is losing its boyhood charm.

 

Tonight’s David Letterman Finale is Generation X’s M.A.S.H.

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I wanted to write a few things about tonight’s David Letterman finale. I don’t pretend to be a T.V. expert but I will say that Letterman has been my favorite for many years even while others seemed to loathe him.

It was mostly from my grandparents generation downward. My grandpa thought his show stunk and became faithful to Leno, though Carson was really his guy. A friend of my parents was said he thought Letterman was just this goofy guy and just really didn’t enjoy the show. After Letterman made the switch to CBS it became apparent that his bread and butter was going to be with a younger crowd.

Some of the musical acts with Letterman have been legendary and really were the best and brightest of Generation X whatever you define those of use born in the 80s but who came of age in the 90s.

Those acts included Dave Matthews, Weezer, Live, the Foo Fighters and quite a few others. It will be the Foo Fighters who appropriately send David Letterman out tonight with an appearance on his final show.

I’m not sure that Generation X really has a strong voice out there in T.V. Land Jimmy Fallon is one of us but appeals to a different segment. The other Jimmy is slightly older so he surely plans to benefit from Letterman’s exist in terms of viewers. Maybe there’s room somewhere for a fourth talk show host on late night network TV.

I don’t think in terms of numbers it will have as many viewers as M.A.S.H, for one there are so many more entertainment options today, for another Letterman was not as widely appreciated as some would have you believe, he was for a certain type of person. The zany the wacky stuff didn’t always bring him praise for viewers, but he did stand the test of time and developed into an elder-statesmen of late night.

 

 

Daily Buzz: LeSean McCoy & Chip Kelly, DeflateGate, Barry Bonds, Bryce Harper and Isiah Thomas

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Mike Rodak of ESPN.com got the quote of the spring/summer NFL wise when LeSean McCoy let loose on his former coach Chip Kelly.

“The relationship was never really great,” McCoy said of Kelly (Via ESPN).

“I feel like I always respected him as a coach. I think that’s the way he runs his team. He wants the full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That’s the truth. There’s a reason. … It’s hard to explain with him. But there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players — the good ones — like that.”

The only problem is that only Chip Kelly knows the motivation, and a lot of times in the NFL its about money and the amount a good player can get on the open market versus the cost to stay where they are, couple that with a new offensive system and you might see it from a different point of view.

An NFL investigation determined New England Patriots personnel knowingly deflated games in the AFC Championship game it was announced Wednesday. The report also found that it was probable that quarterback Tom Brady had some knowledge what had taken place.

-Barry Bonds is supporting women’s cycling. 

-Bryce Harper hit three home runs in three at-bats Wednesday afternoon.

-Why Ken Jenning’s Jeopardy streak is nearly impossible to break.

-The backlash has been pretty strong regarding James’s Dolan decision to make good friend Isiah Thomas the president of WNBA’s New York Liberty. It’s every so often there’s a head scratcher of a hire concerning Thomas who seems to never have found a permanent spot in a post-playing basketball world.

I for one think Thomas is an excellent communicator (how do you think he talks himself into these jobs) and his best spot is as a television analyst.

None the less, the New York Times reports that some WNBA fans find his hire insulting.

In a league that relies on a large female fan base, the inclusion of Thomas, who was involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2007, is a puzzling and possibly alienating move to fans and observers of the game.

 

Stat of the evening: Bartolo Colon became the first pitcher to beat another team with seven different teams in the Mets’ 3-2 win over the Orioles

 

 

Daily Buzz Evening Update: Terry Goodwin, Terrelle Pryor, Kaepernick’s Nikes, and the self-proclaimed fastest player in the NFL

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Rated as a five star high school football recruit who has signed a letter of intent to play at Georgia, Terry Goodwin has a try out offer from the Atlanta Braves.

Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

Terry Godwin is a 5-star receiver from Callaway High School, and he signed a football scholarship with UGA last February.

Godwin is also a standout at third base for Callaway’s baseball team. He impressed a few scouts enough to earn an invitation to a pre-draft camp with ot
her prospects with the Braves at Turner Field on May 28.

Former Ohio State standout QB Terrelle Pryor was released by the Kansas City Chiefs today. 

Colin Kaepernick is a fan of Nike shoes to say the least, his shoe collection is pictured below.

Via USA TODAY

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A man is suing the New Orleans Zephyrs after he alleges he lost eye sight after being struck by a foul ball, via Nola.com

Minnesota is bidding to host the College Football National Championship game in the Vikings new stadium, via SI.com

And finally Mike Wallace has proclaimed himself the NFL’s fastest player.

Via TwinCities.com (Pioneer Press) 

“Without a doubt, I’m the fastest player in the NFL,’’ Wallace told the Pioneer Press. “If somebody feels foggy about that, we can (race). I’m never going to back down from competition.’’

 

Daily Buzz: Jameis Winston, VCU Player Arrested, Concussions, and the White Sox

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VCU Basketball player Mo Alie-Cox has been charged with battery, reports WTVR in Richmond.

VCU Rams basketball player Mo Alie-Cox was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery after an incident involving a woman at a Richmond nightspot, according to Richmond court documents

Jameis Winston reportedly snubbed ESPN on Draft Day, via Awful Announcing. 

UCLA has begun a $30 million research study into concussions in football players. The study will use specialized helmets with sensors which measure hits and impact,  via Bruins Nation.

SBNation looks at What’s Wrong with the White Sox?

The Chicago AL team spent sizable money on free agents like Melky Cabrera but have the worst record in the AL and the lowest runs output in the majors.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley hopes to make his return to action in Game 2 vs the Warriors.

Former UK hoopseter and probable lottery pick Willie Cauley Stein has legally changed his named to  Willie Trill Cauley-Stein, reports the Lexington Herald Leader. 

DraftExpress.com has Cauley-Stein as the sixth player selected in its current mock draft.

Meanwhile Cauley-Stein’s also hyphenated former teammate Karl-Anthony Towns plans to complete his degree online while in the NBA according to Yahoo Sports and NJ.com 

Daily Buzz: The Tebow End Game

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By Travis Duncan

There are two types of people in this world:

Those who believe Tim Tebow is a legitimate NFL backup quarterback or at least has a chance at playing in the NFL and has just been given a raw deal up until now. And the second group who see Eagles head coach Chip Kelly as a mastermind of transactions and Tebow is a pawn in a larger game.

Chris Korman of USA TODAY has a theory:

Worst case? Tebow never sees the field during a real game but does syphon media attention from besieged teammates — and his head coach — for the next several months.

This is already happening, of course, because Tebow’s gravitational pull is inescapable for those holding cameras or notebooks. He is the most overly documented human being of our time, which has been notable mostly for how overly documented it has been.

Whether it was intentional or not, it will be true Tebow will be the focus for Philly. Or Kelly likes his enthusiasm and thinks it will help the franchise. Or perhaps Kelly believes competition will be a motivating factor for a his  other quarterbacks named Sanchez and Bradford who have tasted success at the collegiate level but not at the pros.

Eagles training camp may look like a quarterback camp with five QBs on the roster and the possibility another one could be added at the draft.

Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne all join TT with the red jerseys in training camp.

Was this all a setup to bring in Marcus Mariota?

Daily Buzz: Getting suspended from ESPN is actually a good thing.

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MCHENRY

By Travis Duncan

NBC Sports and NFL Network Sideline reporter Alex Flanagan wrote some interesting things this morning on her blog concerning a disgraced  highly publicized ESPN reporter by the name of Britt McHenry.

McHenry is someone most of us really had not heard of until a video of her berating a tow company clerk went viral.

In Ms. McHenry’s defense, I was once a victim of fraudulent towing and its no joking manner. But the hate spewed out by McHenry was just childish and shows a deeper narcissism, for which you the reader will need to be the judge….

The hate and the first grade bullying aside, as Alex Flanagan points out, when you are in the public role you are required to maintain a certain civility.

That’s probably something that Britt McHenry realizes now more than ever. Lesson learned. You would think.

But the idea that the one week suspension that ESPN gave her is some sort of discipline simply does jive with what we think of when we say workplace discipline.

For one, what exactly does a sideline reporter’s work week consist of?

Secondly, the suspension was covered by all major news outlets and further promoted McHenry as a personality and brand. Albeit a snippy blonde, educated good looking brand that ESPN’s demo won’t be able to turn away from or change that channel.

It’s a win-win for ESPN which most things usually are for the mothership.

Now if ESPN fires you, well you’re done. You’re career takes a hit. That’s discipline.

The whole story has been a web traffic smash for Twitter for sports websites everywhere.

Meanwhile her Twitter followers are now up to 116,000. It’s also the place where she lets you know straight off the bat that she played soccer and she has her masters from Northwestern.

Flanagan writes:

But here is where I really have a problem with this whole situation. The 28-year-old ESPN reporter went from being relatively unknown to being a household name this past week after that video of her degrading the tow company employee went viral. “No publicity is bad publicity” seems truer today than ever before. In our oversaturated TV market, executives want people who stand out, ones that can move the needle. It seems like more often than not, they don’t care what’s behind what’s making the needle move. The outcome of McHenry’s insensitive behavior is a higher Q-rating, an increase in Twitter followers and an explosion of Google hits when you search her name on the internet

 

As a side note the Towing company involved in the incident released its own statement and they seem pretty ok with the whole thing. 

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